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Publisher Description

With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.

In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.

With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

October 3
St. Martin's Press

Customer Reviews

Carol M Smith ,

Donna Alward’s Deck the Halls

The Magic of Christmas combines with the
legend of the Kissing Bridge in Darling, VT.
George Reilly was a homeless veteran until
given a job and found an apartment. He is
finding his way back from post traumatic
stress syndrome after his fighting in the war.
One day, he is thrown for a loop when the
sister of his best friend who was killed in an
ambush right before George’s eyes, appears
at the garden center. She wants closure for
her brother’s death. George is not ready to
open up about the war. Will he run and
disappear back to street living to avoid her
questions? Will she continue to pursue her
answers? Will they be able to start on new
A well written story with very well developed,
well defined and realistic characters with
Christmas time magic involved.
A highly recommended Read.
I volunteered to read a Deck the Halls. Thanks
to the publisher via Net Gallery for the opportunity.
My opinion is my own.

bh313@hotmail ,


Oh my heart!! For those of us who are already fans of the Darling VT series, we've previously met and fell in love with George. We know he's had a rough life and was down on his luck. Now this book gives us his backstory and gives us hope for his future. Nobody deserves a little happy like George does! If you haven't started the series yet, no worries. The author gives enough detail to give you George's entire story. This is easily read standalone and is a perfect heartwarming holiday read.

Put this on the must read list. I highly recommend it.

Cheryl33610 ,

Great inspirational story!

While this story was a quick read for me, it packed quite a punch. Not having read any of the previous Darling, VT books, I was unfamiliar with George and townspeople whose stories have already been told, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of this one at all.
I commend Donna Alward, or any author, who has the courage to take on the task of writing a book about veterans and PTSD. It's a hard subject matter to write and read about. I loved George! He's turning his life around after years on the streets; he's found friends, a job and a place to belong. While he may have seemed a little harsh in not wanting anything to do with Amy, the twin of his deceased buddy, I found it completely understandable. In fact, if Amy herself hadn't seen almost immediately that George was not just being a jerk but emotionally wounded, and acted in kindness rather than anger, I wouldn't have enjoyed it quite as much.
I also appreciated that once they got to a place where they admitted their feelings for the other, it wasn't rushed. Their courtship, for lack of a better term, was slow, but sweet and what they both needed. I'll be checking out more of the Darling, VT books in hopes that they are as great as this one was!

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC, for which I voluntarily honestly reviewed.

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